Fix Photoshop 6.0 in Win10 2004+

The Windows 10 2004 update broke Photoshop 6.0 and it’s still broken in 21H2. As Photoshop starts, it shows, “Unable to continue because of a hardware or system error. Sorry, but this error is unrecoverable.” Running it in Windows 98/ME compatibility mode is a workaround, but it’s not ideal as other features are broken, such as drag and drop to open a file.

I found that the SettingsFilePath in HKCU\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Photoshop\6.0 is the source of this problem. If you delete this value from the Registry, Photoshop opens just fine, and it even retains your previous settings. You can make a bat file to do this for you and then start Photoshop:

%SystemRoot%\system32\reg.exe delete HKCU\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Photoshop\6.0 /v "SettingsFilePath" /f

start "" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Photoshop 6.0\Photoshp.exe"

You can’t pin a bat file to Start or the task bar directly, but you can if you create a shortcut. Right-click > New > Shortcut and enter the following:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c D:\bin\Start-Photoshop-6.0.bat

where D:\bin\Start-Photoshop-6.0.bat is the full path to your bat file.

If you go to the Properties of your new shortcut, you can also click Change icon and Browse to %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Adobe\Photoshop 6.0\Photoshp.exe. The first icon is the familiar Photoshop 6 icon.